Interview: Aubrey Sitterson and Fico Ossio on Dark Horse’s No One Left to Fight

No One Left to Fight #1

No One Left to Fight #1

Writer Aubrey Sitterson has penned G.I. Joe, The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling, Turok, and more. Artist Fico Ossio has drawn Marvel Action: Spider-Man, Skylanders, Revolution, and others. Now they join forces for Dark Horse’s No One Left to Fight, the comic that asks the question “what happens after the final battle has been won?” Sitterson and Ossio share some details about the series with Westfield’s Roger Ash.

Westfield: How did you two come together for No One Left to Fight?

Fico Ossio: Aubrey and I had been wanting to collaborate for years, but the stars just never aligned on the licensed books we were working on. That’s when we said, “Hey, why don’t we just do our own thing?” That was the start, and the entire series grew out of that!

Aubrey Sitterson: I’d been a fan of Fico’s work for years, the entire time we were working on the IDW Hasbro-verse, actually. The amount of detail he draws, without ever making things feel stiff or wooden, is unbelievable, and what’s really nuts is that No One Left to Fight looks even better, especially since he’s coloring himself with a palette that’s going to sear your eyeballs out of your head.

At San Diego Comic Con in 2017, we were standing near the IDW booth and kept hearing these “power-up” screams coming from the Dragon Ball booth. We realized we were both massive fans of the series and started talking about all the things we loved about it and how to use them in our own work – that’s the secret origin of No One Left to Fight!

Westfield: Where did the idea for the story come from?

Sitterson: Our love of Dragon Ball! The series, in its various iterations, has been going on for three decades now, which means that those characters, the concept, the world…they’ve all had time to sink fully into the cultural zeitgeist. Goku and Vegeta are every bit as iconic, archetypal characters as Superman and Batman at this point. We wanted to play around with that, to use those tropes to tell a story of our own.

Ossio: Talking about Dragon Ball at SDCC was definitely the start, but we almost immediately started talking about other manga and anime to draw from. We didn’t want to copy any of them, but we definitely wanted to borrow what worked about some of our favorite series! Another thing that really defines the series is the idea of a “road trip” comic – I’ve always been drawn to those types of stories!

Sitterson: Fico’s road trip idea was a brilliant one, as it’s the perfect way for us to introduce readers to the breadth and depth of the world we’re creating. Plus, it was pretty serendipitous, as I was in the midst of reading JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure when he suggested it, and that series, especially the “Stardust Crusaders” epic makes excellent use of the road trip format. That, and the awesome fight scenes, were also a big influence on No One Left to Fight.

No One Left to Fight promotional art

No One Left to Fight promotional art

Westfield: How much design work and world building did you do for the series?

Ossio: A ton! It was a really fun process though – the whole thing was really collaborative. We had the seed of the story and knew we would need three main characters. So Vâle, Timór, and Krysta came first. From there we kept having more fun, outrageous ideas that continued to define the story. That demanded more characters, enemies, vehicles, etc. which helped inform the world and led to all of our wild, exotic settings. Back and forth from board to script and back again. We had a lot of fun with it, as everything kept growing bigger and bigger. Now we have enough stories to keep us busy for years! I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a creative process that’s as fun, exciting, and easy as this.

Sitterson: My first exposure to Dragon Ball was watching Dragon Ball Z in the afternoons after school on Toonami. Since this was well before streaming services or even comprehensive fan wikis, I came into the series knowing next to nothing, and was immediately blown away by how deep and well-developed the world was. I loved that all these characters had known each other for years, that there was a ton of backstory alluded to, but that the series never got bogged down in continuity. We wanted to recreate that feeling – of getting dropped into a larger world – so we did a ton of work trying to flesh things out.

Westfield: Who are the main characters readers will meet?

Sitterson: Our core cast consists of Vâle, Timór & Krysta, who are inspired by Dragon Ball’s Goku, Vegeta & Bulma, respectively (though I’ve had more than a few people compare Vâle and Timór to Street Fighter’s Ryu and Ken!). But while those core relationships were our starting point, even the biggest Dragon Ball heads are going to be in for some surprises with the tweaks and changes we’ve made, all with an eye toward heightening the drama and exploring the big, heady themes that No One Left to Fight ruminates on. I’ve always thought playing off of, then subverting people’s expectations is the biggest part of storytelling, and we most definitely do that here.

Ossio: That’s our main cast, but there are so many other characters too! And all of them with backstories and connections to one another! One of my favorite things though, is designing villains, and I think we have a really terrifying one in The Hierophant. It was one of the final designs we did and he grew entirely out of this world we’ve built. He’s got a twisted, creepy, devilish vibe to him and Aubrey gave him such a great voice. I can’t wait for the readers to meet him – they’re going to love to hate him!

No One Left to Fight promotional art

No One Left to Fight promotional art

Westfield: What can you say about your collaboration?

Ossio: It’s been amazing! I always thought that Aubrey and I would hit it off if we worked together, but this has surpassed all my expectations! It’s been such a fun experience to create this world together – inspirational even. Every time I send him something, he hits me back with a new idea, which in turn makes me think of one! In just the first few months we must have sent 100 emails back and forth because we’re just so excited about it!

Sitterson: I couldn’t agree more. Working with Fico is an absolute treat. Not only is he doing the work of his career, with every page better than the last – and oh man, don’t get me started on his colors, which are a revelation – but the process of making this thing has been, as Fico mentioned, a blast. Fico’s designs are such an important part of the book, and what stands out to me about them the most is the degree of thought and planning that goes into every one. Fico puts a lot of accessories and accoutrements on his characters, but none of it is meaningless or just for looks – even the little stuff on people’s belts, or wild visuals in the background, they all have backstories. One of my favorite things is asking Fico, “Hey, what’s the deal with this?” and he hits me back with 500 words about where it came from, what it means, and how we could use it in the future. It’s that kind of thought and commitment that makes the world of No One Left to Fight so rich and inviting.

Westfield: Any closing comments?

Ossio: Yeah! To work on such a personal project is already a profound experience, but to be able to do it with Dark Horse makes it even better. Everyone we’ve worked with – especially our editor Brett Israel and PR expert Anthony Mauro – have been so very supportive and open to collaboration, helping us make No One Left to Fight every bit as perfect as we see it in our heads.

Plus, working with Dark Horse means that No One Left to Fight gets to join iconic Universes like Hellboy, Black Hammer and Umbrella Academy! It’s an amazing honor to become a part of that lineage, and it’s made this amazing ride that much more special.

Sitterson: We’ve been calling this thing “The Comic You Always Wanted” – we even put it on the cover! Now, I recognize that it probably sounds like “World’s Greatest Comic Magazine” hyperbole, but truthfully…we believe it 100%. We believe No One Left to Fight is the comic you always wanted because we know for a fact that it’s the comic we always wanted. We’ve created an entire world that’s both familiar and something entirely new, and we can’t wait for you to visit it on July 3, 2019.


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